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David O’Brien is a Senior Researcher at the Berkman Klein Center. He has contributed legal and policy research to a variety of Berkman Klein Center’s projects, spanning the topics of privacy, cloud computing, copyright, cybersecurity, interoperability, and internet governance.  David currently leads the Berkman Klein Center’s efforts in the cybersecurity and the Privacy Tools for Sharing Research Data project.  David also serves on the advisory board for Harvard’s Open Data Assistance Program.  

Prior to joining the Berkman Klein Center in 2011, David advised clients on matters involving intellectual property, website terms of service, and privacy policies.  He earned a J.D. from Northeastern University’s School of Law, where he served on the Northeastern University Law Journal staff, and a B.S. in Economics & Business Administration.  While in law school, David held positions in the Copyright, Trademark, New Media & Entertainment practice group at Fish & Richardson in Boston, at Inverness Medical Innovations’ in-house legal department, and with the Hon. Judith Dein at the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Beyond his work at Berkman Klein, David spends his free time pretending to be a chef at home, occasionally voiding warranties while doing DIY disassembly and repair, and spending as much time as possible outdoors in Boston, California, and Colorado.


Projects & Tools

AI: Global Governance and Inclusion

In a world challenged by growing domestic and international inequalities, policymakers face hard problems and difficult choices when dealing with AI systems. More

Assembly

Assembly is a collaboration with the MIT Media Lab that explores different modes of education, collaboration, and development. More

Berklett Cybersecurity

The Berklett Cybersecurity project is a unique forum for discussing true and important, and often novel, facts, and perspectives, and achieving surprising consensus on enduring… More

Internet Governance

A multi-disciplinary, collaborative, and extended investigation into the multi-layered system that defines the function, structure, and operation of the Internet.  More

Interoperability

In early June 2012, Urs Gasser and John Palfrey released Interoperability: The Promise and Perils of Highly Interconnected Systems. The book is inspired by their 2005 study and… More

Privacy Initiatives

The Berkman Klein Center has long been home to a number of cross-disciplinary initiatives that investigate privacy and privacy-relevant questions in the digitally networked… More

Privacy Tools for Sharing Research Data

This project seeks to further the tremendous value that can come from collecting, analyzing, and sharing data while more fully protecting individual privacy. More

Digital Public Library of America

The DPLA empowers people to learn, grow, and contribute to a diverse and better-functioning society by maximizing public access to our shared history, culture, and knowledge. More

Cloud Computing

Led by Executive Director and Harvard Law School Professor of Practice, Urs Gasser, the Berkman Center's cloud computing initiative seeks to identify and evaluate the challenges… More

Cybersecurity Wiki

During 2010-2012, under the guidance of Professor Jack Goldsmith, the Berkman Klein Center team created a cybersecurity wiki, which houses an evolving set of more than 350… More

E-Publishing Models

With the generous support of the Revson Foundation, the E-Publishing Models Project is focused on exploring current issues associated with digital publishing business models and… More


Publications

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2018

Bridging the Gap between Computer Science and Legal Approaches to Privacy

A look at the gaps that exist between how privacy risks are conceptualized between the fields of law and computer science More

Monday, Mar 12, 2018

Practical Approaches to Big Data Privacy Over Time

This article analyzes how privacy risks multiply as large quantities of personal data are collected over longer periods of time. More

Monday, Sep 26, 2016

Privacy and Open Data Research Briefing

This research briefing offers a snapshot of recent developments in the open data and privacy landscape, outlines an action map of various governance approaches to protecting… More

Monday, Sep 26, 2016

Privacy and Cybersecurity Research Briefing

This research briefing aims to translate findings from ongoing Berkman Klein Center privacy and cybersecurity research and activities into practical considerations and takeaways… More

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Towards a Modern Approach to Privacy-Aware Government Data Releases

Governments are under increasing pressure to promote transparency, accountability, and innovation by making the data they hold available to the public. Because the data often… More

Thursday, Mar 31, 2016

Elements of a New Ethical Framework for Big Data Research

The Berkman Center is pleased to announce the publication of a new paper from the Privacy Tools for Sharing Research Data project team. In this paper, Effy Vayena, Urs Gasser,… More

Monday, Feb 1, 2016

Don't Panic: Making Progress on the "Going Dark" Debate

This report from the Berkman Center's Berklett Cybersecurity Project offers a new perspective on the "going dark" debate from the discussion, debate, and analyses of an… More

Friday, Mar 27, 2015

Integrating Approaches to Privacy Across the Research Lifecycle: When Is Information Purely Public?

This workshop report, the second in a series, identifies selected questions and explores issues around the meaning of “public” in the context of using data about individuals for… More

Sunday, Aug 3, 2014

Integrating Approaches to Privacy across the Research Lifecycle: Long-term Longitudinal Studies

This paper explores interdisciplinary approaches to privacy in long-term longitudinal studies of human subjects. Long-term longitudinal studies collect, at multiple points over a… More

Monday, Mar 17, 2014

Governments and Cloud Computing: Roles, Approaches, and Policy Considerations

In this paper, Urs Gasser and David O'Brien synthesize findings from a multi-year cloud computing research initiative led by the Berkman Center in close collaboration with the… More

Sunday, Jul 29, 2012

E-books in Libraries: A Briefing Document developed in preparation for a Workshop on E-Lending in Libraries

This briefing document was developed with helpful inputs from industry stakeholders and other practitioners in preparation for the “E-Books in Libraries” workshop, hosted on… More


Community

Boston 25 News

Unlocking your phone’s secrets

Devices give access to those willing to pay up

David O’Brien on tools used by law enforcement to crack into suspects' personal digital devices

Tuesday, Nov 13, 2018
arXiv

Law and Adversarial Machine Learning

When machine learning systems fail because of adversarial manipulation, how should society expect the law to respond?

Friday, Oct 26, 2018